Southern Wayne clips Kinston
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 22, 2007 2:02 AM
KINSTON -- On a night when hits were a precious commodity, the Southern Wayne baseball team emerged advantageous on the defensive side of the ball.
The Saints recorded three rally-killing plays and edged Kinston 3-1 in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play Friday evening at Viking Field. Southern Wayne improved to 9-11 overall and moved into a third-place tie with Hunt at 4-4 in the league standings.
Kinston (5-14) suffered its sixth ECC defeat in eight tries.
"We made some big plays on defense," said Saints head coach Trae McKee.
No play was more crucial than a seventh-inning, twin-killing which vexed the Vikings. Landon DeBruhl hit a bases-loaded RBI grounder to second baseman Brady Wiggins, who relayed the throw to shortstop Dave Overman for the out at second base.
Kinston's Brian Reynolds threw his hands up and touched the throw by Overman to first. DeBruhl appeared to be safe, but the home plate umpire over-ruled the field umpire after McKee appealed the call. The home umpire said both runners were out on the play.
"Umpiring, over the course of season, tends to even out," said Vikings head coach Eddie Loesner, who felt the home umpire was out of position to make the proper judgment. "That's the way I look at it. Sometimes they go against you, sometimes they go in your favor.
"You hate to see a ball game come down to a call ... a no-call or indecision."
Saints right-hander Byron Powell, who relieved starter Sterling Grice, caught Josh Lovick looking at a called third strike to end the game. Powell earned his first save of the season and helped Southern Wayne collect its season-high, third consecutive victory.
The right-handed Grice (3-3) scattered four hits and fanned seven Vikings in a six-inning stint.
"That was the best Sterling has thrown this year," said McKee. "He had real good command of his fastball early in the count and was able to get ahead of the hitters. That made his offspeed (pitch) better."
Kinston put runners aboard in the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn't scratch against the right-handed Grice. Right fielder Doogie Niemond helped gun down a runner between second and third base after Mike Wetherington's fifth-inning single. Wetherington was left stranded after Grice coerced DeBruhl into an inning-ending groundout.
In the sixth, the Vikings had two runners on base with two outs when Jordan Ervin hit a grounder toward the hole between first and second base. Wiggins dove to his left, scooped up the grounder and threw to Chris Massey to squelch the rally.
"We had the bases juiced," said Loesner.
While the Saints sparkled in the field defensively, the Vikings struggled to convert the routine outs. Three infield errors in the second and third innings combined allowed Southern Wayne to seize a 2-0 lead off DeBruhl.
Garrett Barfield added an RBI single in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
The gutsy effort pleased McKee, but he was concerned with his players' approaches at the plate. The 5-foot-5, 110-pound DeBruhl had a deliberate delivery and kept the Saints off balance with two pitches -- a slow fastball and breaking pitch.
DeBruhl, a freshman, yielded two unearned runs on three hits to go along with two strikeouts and two walks.
"Anything below or above high school hitting speed is tough to make an adjustment on," said McKee. "He threw well below high school hitting speed. We hit the baseball, but we didn't make any adjustments to let the ball travel with a couple of exceptions.
"He was able to throw two pitches for a strike and did a great job."
Southern Wayne 011 010 0 -- 3 3 0
Kinston 000 000 1 -- 1 4 4
Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Garrett Barfield 1-4, RBI; Brady Wiggins 1-3; Scott Holloman 1-2, 2B; Dave Overman RBI; Sterling Grice RBI. Kinston -- Josh Lovick 1-4; Antonio Whitfield 1-3; Alex Spence 1-2; Mike Wetherington 1-2.
DP -- Southern Wayne 1. LOB -- Southern Wayne 6, Kinston 6. SB -- Overman 2, Edwards, Wiggins, Barfield, Whitfield. SF -- Grice.
IP H R ER BB SO
Grice (W, 3-3) 6 4 1 1 3 7
Powell (S, 1) 1 0 0 0 1 1
DeBruhl (L) 7 3 3 1 2 2
WP -- DeBruhl. HBP -- by DeBruhl (Powell), by Grice (Best).
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